Brain Tumor Patient Runs to Raise Funds and Awareness
Adam Crothers is a runner. He started running as a kid and eventually ran his way right into DePaul University, where he competed as a sprinter and jumper.
Then about a year ago, Crothers got some news that changed his life. After trying to get relief from what was thought to be a persistent sinus infections, Crothers had a MRI and was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive kind of brain tumor. These tumors grow rapidly and despite surgical removal, radiation and chemotherapy, they recur in the majority of patients.
"It was a punch in the gut," said Crothers, who is 35 years old. "I've always been in good physical shape, always felt great. Then all the sudden I go from thinking I have a sinus infection to brain cancer. I went through some tough times. Then one day, I woke up and decided I was done feeling sorry for myself. I decided to turn things around. I started running again."
On May 18 Crothers will join thousands — including his own doctor — at the Chicago Spring Half Marathon/10K, which will wind through the city's historic museum campus. The Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) is the official charity and sponsor of the sold-out race. The NBTI is a collaboration between Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Robert. H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"Every day I help care for patients who are facing the biggest challenge of their lives," said Crothers' oncologist, Jeffrey Raizer, MD, co-director of the NBTI and medical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "The race raises money to help patients who are living with brain tumors and it supports key research initiatives, which one day may change how brain tumors are treated forever. I want to be able to offer patients like Adam hope for better outcomes, a better quality of life, and, someday, possibly a cure."
The race takes place during Brain Tumor Awareness month and aims not only to raise funds for NBTI but to also educate the public about brain tumors and honor patients and their caregivers. Raizer and James Chandler, MD, co-director of the NBTI and surgical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial, both members of the Lurie Cancer Center, will be among those running on May 18. In years past, NBTI physicians, nurses and staff have actively participated in the race and fundraising.
"I look forward to this race every year because it's an opportunity for the NBTI team to honor the bravery and strength of our patients and their families," Chandler said. "It never ceases to amaze me the courage that our patients exhibit while battling brain tumors. It's often a long and tiring fight for these families, but our patients are some of the toughest people I know. It's an honor to run alongside many of them and in honor of so many others."
Even after undergoing brain surgery and while battling this aggressive brain cancer, Crothers continues to run and work as a trainer at Lifetime Fitness. He runs to forget about the chemo and treatments. And he feels better.
"Physical fitness keeps me mentally strong," said Crothers, who lives in Westmont and attended Oak Forest High School. "Everyone needs that one thing that keeps them grounded and focused. For me, it has always been running."
The NBTI is a comprehensive program that merges clinical research with medical and surgical treatment for brain and spinal tumor patients. The Institute offers state-of-the-art clinical care while also providing the resources and support necessary for patients and their families to meet the challenges of living with a brain tumor.
While both the Chicago Spring half marathon and 10K entries are sold out, the NBTI is still accepting donations by clicking here or by calling 312-926-4199. Runners who are already registered for the race may also launch a fundraising team or page. After the race, all are welcome to stop by the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute tent for refreshments and to meet NBTI doctors and staff.